This letter was written to Lee Standefer from Waid Scott
November 20, 1949
Contributed by Jim Standifer. Thanks, Jim!
Waid Scott Willis, Sr.
Sunday, 20th November 1949
Mr. Lee Standefer
Dear Mr. Standefer,
A few weeks ago, I had written Dr. R. E. Standefer,
Dunlap, Tennessee about the history of his family of Standefer’s
migration into Tennessee. Among
the several he mentioned as possibly having valuable data, was your name.
I did not write because I thought maybe you were his own branch of
Standefers and you would have his data, but I know you could be the same
family, and probably be out of touch with that knowledge now.
I am a Standefer through Anne Standefer a daughter of
Luke Standefer and his wife Mary Anne Price.
Her father Joseph Shores Price, and Luke Standefer his son in law,
are both used by my daughter for a D.A.R. Foundation, and I think James
Standefer, Sr., will soon be accepted.
It should go through with ease.
The family from the records I have must have been in
Pittsylvania County, Virginia, before that in Halifax County, Southwestern
Virginia. Then Henry was cut
off from Pittsylvania County and they were in that County until Franklin
County was cut off from Henry County, and they were in Franklin County,
Virginia. Here at Waidsboro,
my Waids, Barbours, Fergusons, Standefers, all lived and I suspect
attended the same Baptist Church or Quaker Groups.
Bookers are of this community also.
My mother used to tell me of a little Negro boy whom the Bookers
sold just before the Civil War for forty dollars because he wasn’t much
good. After the War he
attended a school for Negroes and was told he was just as good as the
whites now, and he had to have three names so he could prove it.
So the little fuzzy head came up shortly with Booker The
I have charted some of these families, and tried to
follow them across the Mississippi into Texas, and farther West to San
Francisco. Jacob L. Standefer
and William Bailey Standefer fought at San Jacinto, with Sam Houston. In that fight, my Wades, Willises, Mills, Lamars, Hunts, all
fought under Sam Houston. These
families you may not recall offhand, all came just north of Rockymount,
Virginia, the County Seat of Franklin County.
Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Bigfoot Wallace, came from right
around Rockbridge County in Timberridge
community, south of Lexington, Virginia.
Houston Wade fought at San Jacinto and a great-grandson of his has
written interestingly of many Texas incidents, this Houston Wade was
related to Sam Houston, and his family live a short distance away from
here at Schulenburg, Texas on the old Standefer League.
A daughter of Luke Standefer named Anne Stander married Captain
Robert Waid of Waidsboro, and this is my descent.
Sam Houston’s widow died in the home of Caroline
Willis in Galveston, Texas. She
was a daughter of Pete Willis who came in with Old Captain King, of the
King _________, and Pete Willis fought on the flagship of the Pirate Jean
Lafittee at the Battle of New Orleans, under General Andrew Jackson, where
one of the regiments was commanded by one of our Standefers from Franklin
County, Virginia. Charles
Carter Mills my family, brother of my three greats removed grandmother,
Polly (Mary) Mills whose sister Nancy Mills Mercer founded Mercer Macon
University of Georgia, married Sarah Lamar Stokes of the Wade Stokes
Family of Franklin County, and she was a niece of Mirebeau Bonaparte Lamar
who commanded all the Cavalry at San Jacinto, and who was the second
President after Sam Houston, and third Governor of Texas.
These Families of ours have been the very heart of the Texas
Revolution and the early Mexican Wars. I have contacted these Standefers in California, all over
Texas, and down in Venezuela and Canal Zone.
They all sound exactly like the same Family, It seems everyone I have run across came form Marion of
Sequatchie or Bledsoe Counties, Tennessee, but so far they have not
carried themselves back to ole Virginny where they belong.
Dr. R. E. Standefer gave ___ a lot that
son…….sounded like it would connect back in Franklin County, Virginia. Back there James Standiford, Sr., or Standifer or Standefer,
or maybe Stanford, and I am inclined to think that the name will first be
spelled Standford, but James, Sr. had Jacob Standefer, James Standefer,
Jr., and Luke Standefer, and William Standefer, while there was both an
Isaac and an Israel or the name was used for one person.
I am not able to clear it up yet.
I know quite a lot of work has been done Standifords, and this work
may be our own family there. In
Franklin County, there were Rentfroes and Standefers who intermarried
extensively, and they all moved into Tennessee.
Just where they scattered to, I am attempting right now to find out
to get a few dates, and a few more complete charts on the family.
There was also Sally Standefer and Naomi Standefer.
Once several generations ago, an old man and his old wife sat in
the waiting room of the president of Harvard University, awaiting
admittance, but they waited for three whole days before he took the time
to see them. Then this old
gentleman apologetically said he had waited the three days because he
wished to ask one question only and wanted it to be answered correctly.
“How much money will it take to set a university like Harvard is
now?” The president,
briefly, but condescendingly and kindly answered “One hundred million
dollars”. The old man
turned to his wife and said, “Why mom we’ve got just about that much,
we can do it. He did, he set
up Leland Stanford University out at Stanford California patterned after
When I had run into quite a bit of work done on
Standefers I have wondered who did it and if it could have been any of the
this family? I am not sure
they even belong, but I have run into some peculiar things in this
families, and where these families are worked out at all, it has taken
some one’s money on the drumhead to do it.
The Standefers or Standifords are pretty well searched out.
Do you know anyone who has done an exceptional amount of work on
I’ll be awfully glad to hear from you.
I am a farmer, live here on the Medi River Bank.
I lost my only son at the close of the last War and am just exiting
now, wondering why I could not have gone on instead of Waid Junior.
I’ve a daughter Patti Willis, named after of Willises, of Orange
County and King George Counties Families of the Willises.
The First owner of Mt. Vernon’s 2500 A was Mildred Willis the
wife of Henry Willis of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
She was the Aunt of George Washington, and the last owners of Mt.
Vernon were Colonel John Washington and his wife, Fanney Willis, their
oldest daughter was named Patti Willis Washington, so you can see Patti
Willis is an old name among my families.
When I contacted Luke Price Standefer, at Box 282, Cocoli, Canal
Zone, I found there were five Luke Price Standefers in direct line for
three greats removed grandfather to Luke Price Standefer, Jr. at Pasadena,
near Houston, Texas and Luke Price Standefer’s only sister was named
Joanne Standefer. The
grandmother of Maryanne Price was Anne Shores and my mother name was
Martha Susanne Waid and her mother Adrianne.
We have stayed with our common and given names here pretty well.
Most sincerely yours, Waid Scott Willis, Sr.
I’d like to know if you can tell me about where the
records of Marion County might be found.
I did not write Dunlap for their Court Records are they still there
or at Nashville, I mean the early ones.
I wrote Pikeville for Bledsoe County Records, but so far have not
had anyone who does that kind of work answer me.
Signed: Waid Scott Willis, Sr.
If you have a comment regarding this letter, I will post it here!
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